The Carnegie Free Library, Cork

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Where: Cork, Ireland

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When: 01 January 1905

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Of all the philanthropists who have had an impact on the western world the most imaginative and probably the most profound donation/gift has likely been that by Andrew Carnegie. The Carnegie libraries have provided entertainment, education, enlightenment and pure pleasure to many millions throughout the world. This fine example in Cork is a good way to remember the gift that keeps on giving!

While 62 of the country's 66 Carnegie Libraries survived, today's contributors remind us that this example was one of the unlucky 4 that did not - being destroyed within a decade or so of this image during the Burning of Cork. Also some interesting discussion on whether those pictured on the balcony (and perhaps below) were library staff - with suggestions that they could have been the more senior librarians (James Wilkinson and Annie Matthews), or more junior staff of the time (James Desmond and Julia Desmond)....


Photographer: Robert French

Collection: Lawrence Photograph Collection

Date: Catalogue range 1880-1900. Likely after 1905 opening

NLI Ref: L_ROY_08822

You can also view this image, and many thousands of others, on the NLI’s catalogue at catalogue.nli.ie

Info:

Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 27240
robertfrench williamlawrence lawrencecollection lawrencephotographicstudio glassnegative nationallibraryofireland carnegiefreelibrary philanthropist gift books public cork carnegielibrary burningofcork angleseastreet library jameswilkinson anniematthews jamesdesmond juliadesmond lawrencephotographcollection

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  • profile

    Swordscookie

    • 16/Jun/2016 07:59:08

    The gift that keeps on giving sums it up, I seemed to spend half my young life in the Limerick Library! Thank you Mr. Carnegie!!!!!

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    B-59

    • 16/Jun/2016 08:04:09

    "Foundation stone laid by Andrew Carnegie in 1903 with the building opening in 1905. Located on Anglesea Street next to City Hall, this elegant building lasted for only 15 years, until 1920. Destroyed in the fire set by British Forces in 1920 retaliating to continuing guerrilla activity by the IRA, which destroyed a good portion of the area." archiseek.com/2013/carnegie-library-cork/

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    sharon.corbet

    • 16/Jun/2016 08:14:24

    "Librarian and poet Thomas McCarthy tells the story of the destruction of the library and the subsequent restoration of public library service in the city." It includes photos of the library after the burning in 1920.

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    Carol Maddock

    • 16/Jun/2016 08:25:49

    I wonder are they the librarians up on the balcony/terrace?

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    sharon.corbet

    • 16/Jun/2016 08:30:26

    Some info on the building: The Carnegie Free Library on Cork’s Anglesea Street (at the western side of today’s City Hall) was officially opened on 12 September 12 1905 at 2.30 in the afternoon. Newspaper reports of the time describe a beautiful building, Elizabethan in style, with the best possible utilisation of space. The vestibule had a terrazzo floor laid by Italian workmen. In common with most Carnegie Free Libraries built at the time, there was a Ladies Reading Room, with its own entrance on the ground floor. The furniture was all made in Cork, with the notice case, the counter, bookstalls and bookcases made from mahogany by John Callanan of Cork. The artistic iron railing which surrounded the building was made by a Mr Watson of Cork and the main contractor was Patrick Murphy.

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    B-59

    • 16/Jun/2016 08:34:13

    www.corkpastandpresent.ie/2014_calendar_b/# (last photo) shows the old City Hall and the Carnegie Library to the right S. also www.corkcitylibraries.ie/aboutus/librarypublications/agra...

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    B-59

    • 16/Jun/2016 08:40:18

    The destroyed library: catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000279864

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    DannyM8

    • 16/Jun/2016 08:42:42

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]] Man could be a younger James Wilkinson - see www.corkpastandpresent.ie/history/RisingfromtheAshes/#/16/

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    Carol Maddock

    • 16/Jun/2016 08:47:41

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] It certainly could!

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    j.coffey78

    • 16/Jun/2016 09:10:47

    Carnegie Free Library, Kilkenny is another beautiful building on the banks of the Nore -- Up the Cats

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 16/Jun/2016 10:06:03

    Wondering how they got carriages in the gate with that fine gas lamp in the way!

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    Niall McAuley

    • 16/Jun/2016 11:36:51

    James Wilkinson, librarian, was 42 in 1911, and lived in one of 3 houses listed as Corn Exchange, House 2 is Daunt, an accountant and his family, and House 3 is a charitable asylum, with inmates, as marked on the 25" map at GeoHive. The 1901 census lists only Daunt in Corn Exchange.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 16/Jun/2016 11:50:31

    Also in 1911, Annie Matthews, Assistant Librarian, 26, was living a short stroll away in 58 Hibernian Buildings, which is still there.

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    Carol Maddock

    • 16/Jun/2016 14:02:13

    There was at least one other woman on the staff. The Librarian's Annual Report on the Carnegie Free Library was published in the Cork Examiner on Saturday, 19 June 1915:

    Two changes have been made in the personnel of the staff - James Desmond having resigned on being appointed a clerical assistant by the War Department. Miss D. Desmond was appointed a junior assistant to fill the vacancy consequent on the above-named resignation. Charles Collingwood was appointed attendant vice J. F. Nolan.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 16/Jun/2016 14:54:36

    In 1911, James (18) and Julia (16) Desmond are both listed as Assistant librarian, but they do not have a sister D. In fact, a census search says there are no ladies named Desmond whose forename starts with D in Cork.

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    sharon.corbet

    • 16/Jun/2016 15:34:21

    Cork City Library's tumblr includes an article on what you might have found in the Ladies Reading Room back when it opened.

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    Carol Maddock

    • 16/Jun/2016 15:47:17

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley Typo in the 1915 newspaper - D instead of J? And then Julia, became a "junior assistant something or other" when James left for the War Department? Was that better than assistant librarian?

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    Carol Maddock

    • 16/Jun/2016 15:51:04

    The Carnegie Free Library lost 33 working days in 1918, when they closed because of influenza epidemics. (Cork Examiner, 7 May 1919)

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    maorlando - God keeps me as I lean on Him!!

    • 16/Jun/2016 23:08:10

    Magnificent architecture!